Top critical review
Reads more like a novel than a serious history
on 25 April 2012
Des Ekin takes the bones of a historic event and with reference to a series of contemporary sources and the use of a fair degree of poetic licence, formulates an account of the event that, in the absence of any definitive or reliable accounts of the fate of the victims, he weaves into a easily readable tale that owes as much to supposition as it does to historical fact.
The style of writing and profiling of a variety of the victims and subsequent speculation as to their fates makes more than an occasional nod to Ekin's regular day job as a columnist on one of Ireland's most popular tabloids.
In that context it may jar on some more sober historians who prefer to deal purely with facts rather than drawing parallels based on the similar experiences of others.
Also in places Ekin is prone to venture a little bit too much into this air of speculation, for example when he devotes a considerable section to dealing with Stockholm syndrome and the fact that these victims may have suffered from it, even though their fate predates the term by hundreds of years (That is not to say that some of them may very well have succumbed to the symptoms of the disorder now described as Stockholm syndrome, but there is almost a sense of Ekin in his eagerness to "get into" the characters involved, is prone to draw on every cliché and trauma that kidnapping victims may every be exposed to)
The work however is quite well annotated and does feature an impressive bibliography reference for further reading on the subject for which this serves as a very appetising taster - a pleasant if not entirely substantial starter if you like!